In August, first form students across the country will begin to learn much more about Belize. They will be taught about Belize’s transformations and connections, governance and society and origins as part of the broader subject: Belizean Studies. It is a four-year secondary level programme which focuses on the geographical space contained within and culturally connected to Belize. A seminar was held today and News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.
Hipolito Novelo, Reporting
Do you know everything there is to know about Belize? Belizean Studies, a new subject to be rolled out to high schools countrywide seeks to help in that regard. It’s a secondary level subject which was launched last year as a pilot project in eleven high schools across the country. Today, at a seminar, teachers, principals, and relevant stakeholders met at the Marion Jones Stadium to review the success of the pilot project. Director of Quality Assurance and Development Services at the Ministry of Education, John Newport, says that this new subject is an integrated approach to understand who we are and the place in which we live in.
John Newport, Director of Quality Assurance and Development Services, M.O.E.
“Belizean Studies is not Belizean history, and it’s not geography, politics or economics. It is, in fact, a combination of all of those social studies and some science disciplines. For example, the first form pilot which we have just completed probably about a third of the time was what you would traditionally think of as history. Some of it was environmental studies. Some of it was development. Some of it was more human-based by looking at identity. Particularly what does it mean to be Belizeans and culture and so on.”
Belizean Studies is comprised of seven subject areas, including identity and beliefs, origins and sovereignty. According to Newport, one of the things learned during the pilot project was to be careful not to be too ambitious.
‘When you say Belizean Studies, are we going to study our country suddenly we are talking about a huge topic? The more that we look at what does it mean to study Belize the more we realize that there is a lot to study. So, we had to kind of focus on what the teachers and students were considered to be the most important central topics. And then looking at spreading the contents over the four years of high school so at the end of it students won’t know everything there is to know about Belize but they will know a lot.”
The Ministry is now prepared for a national roll out of Belizean Studies.
“The intention is that every high school student in first form in every single school in the country will be studying Belizean Studies from August and then after they will follow through second form, third form up to fourth form. We are providing the curriculum and we are supporting that with teacher training and a public website which is www.belizeanstudies.com which anybody can look at.”